The city of Akron wants to make sure kids learn how to swim, so it's offering free classes

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Who wouldn't want to jump in and go for a swim on a hot day? Many kids to not know how to swim, however, and the water can be a very dangerous place.

That's why the city of Akron is making sure all kids can learn water safety for free.

"Swimming is kind of interesting to learn," said Marquel Powers.

After plenty of lessons, he's gotten pretty good at it.

"We are learning how to do back flies, back floats, we are learning how to jump in the water and swim back," Powers said.

In the city of Akron, the hope is that all kids can learn to swim like Powers.

"Black youth from 5 to 19 years of age are 5 1/2 times more likely to drown in a swimming pool than their Caucasian peers," said Bernett Williams, from Akron Children's Hospital.

Williams knows that statistic all too well. As a child, she almost drowned.

"This was one of the scariest experiences of my life, especially because as I was under water, I could hear the girls laughing and playing and didn't know if anyone knew I was there," Williams said.

Akron is partnering with the Children's Hospital, YMCA, and others to make sure all kids, ages 5 to 12 can take free safety around water classes.

"Swimming lessons are not a guarantee against drowning, but they can play a role in reducing the number in accidental drownings," Williams said.

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